Reviews of Nsefu
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Nsefu had a bit of a different feel than some of the other bush camps I stayed since it was certainly a more substantial lodging with the rondavels.
The rondavels were smaller than other accommodations I had stayed in, but they were sufficient – certainly enough for me, and the bathrooms were more than adequate. Like the other camps, hot water was from on-demand water heaters and took a few minutes to heat up. I was cautioned to not use the tap water for drinking purposes, though it was fine for brushing one's teeth. There was a flush toilet, sink, and the usual amenities. A nice touch was the provision of Kikoys in the room to use on game drives or around camp. I used mine as a dust cover for my camera during the game drives, though I saw others around camp using them in more traditional roles as shawls or sun protection.
The beds were comfortable and the bedding sufficient for the temperature. There was a front porch with a couple of chairs and small table that looked out on the river. One very nice bonus was that the camp provided a selection of post cards (around 6) in the room and at the bar area, and they were happy to provide the postage and mail them free of charge. This is a very nice perk.
In addition to a covered dining area, there were a number of places to sit around camp with a view of the river, as well as, the bar/lounge area where we took afternoon tea. There was a spotting scope, comfortable furniture, books, the bar, and the charging station for any electronic devices. The generator ran for a few hours in the morning and evening which was when you could get things charged. There was a power strip with universal plugs.
Food was very good – especially the cakes for afternoon tea. Hosting was excellent. Lucy is very personable and diligent about looking after the comfort of the guests. She's also very good about anticipating the needs of the guests and trying to accommodate them as much as possible. For example, she noted my impatience with some of the guests I was sharing the game drive vehicle with as they tended to be 20-30 minutes late for every game drive. Since the camp wasn't full, Lucy was able to arrange a private game drive for me so that I didn't have to wait and had me join another vehicle on a different occasion when it looked like I was going to get another delayed start. She ran a pretty good dinner table, as well.
Guiding was excellent – there was a team of 3 guides at Nsefu, and they all seemed to work well together, and each was quite experienced and good trackers. They were quite amusing as well, as they told tales of guiding and the pranks they play on the caterers.
Game drive vehicles were the best out of the lodges I stayed at in S. Luangwa in my opinion. They use Landcruisers, but mostly in a configuration with only 2 rows of seats. This gives you quite a bit of room to maneuver on game drives. They also have the shelf instead of pockets in front of each seat, and provide bean bags.
Magic in the Bush
Our guide Braston was happy to accommodate all our requests. He was charming and thoughtful as were all the local guides and staff at the camp.
Regretabbly the hostess Lucy did not seem to have the gravitas that her position demanded. She lacked professionalism and was on occassions discourteous. We had a real issue with our visit to the African village and hopefully we will be able to discuss this with you Ellie.
(Watch out for the new marketing in the RobinPope brouchure published in August!!!)
Expert Africa comments
Robin Pope Safaris (RPS) tell us that they haven’t had any other complaints about Lucy this season. However they assured us that they would look into the matter, talk to Lucy and try to ensure that this kind of feedback is never repeated.
In regards to the village visit, the problem seems to have been a miscommunication. They asked Lucy if they should take anything to donate to Kawaza Village. She said, ‘no, just go and enjoy the experience’. However, they felt rude and guilty departing without leaving any donation or gift.
Until our conversation, they didn’t realise that when Kawaza Village takes in guests – the cost automatically includes a donation which partly goes to Kawaza, and partly to Project Luangwa. This is a far-reaching project which helps many villages, including Kawaza, and is supported by many of the Luangwa’s safari operators. (And, in addition to this, Expert Africa always refunds all of its commission on Kawaza bookings to Kawaza’s school fund at the end of the year.)
Nor were they told that RPS recommends that any donations are given to Project Luangwa – so the benefit can be spread amongst many local villages. Lucy and the RPS team have now discussed how they can make this clearer for future travellers. We’re sure that if this had been explained properly, these travellers wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable. Expert Africa, and the RPS team including Lucy, will try to do this much more clearly in future.
To read more about Project Luangwa click here.
Wonderful time at nsefu
As with Nkwali, Daudi and Freddy went out of their way to make us welcome and to look after us in great style. The river safaris were magical, as was the walk to see the breeding colony of yellow billed storks.
The staff worled very hard to look after us and I was very touched by the pride with which Isaac presented our food every day.
Many different leopards
In this camp the view is much nice than in Nkwali but having less trees, it's more sunny and hot.
Excellent drives ( hunting lions, following a leopard for an hour in day time, hippos, crocos ( in and out the river ).
Many nocturnal animals we haven't seen before.
Return to Nsefu - long awaited!
We visited Nsefu 2 years ago and wanted very much to come back to this lovely camp. We were not disappointed - on the contrary. Fantastic wildlife sitings every day and superb guiding by Braston and Sebastian.
The camp location by the river is idyllic, with also a mud pool that attracts big elephant herds on a daily basis close to the bar area. A new experience was the very early morning excursion to the hot springs with a bush breakfast - worth getting up at 4am for this!
All the camp staff were superb and the food was probably the best we have had in all the four camps that we visited. The accommodation in the original rondavels is very good, but they are a little on the small side compared to rooms at other camps.
Change of terrain.
We enjoyed the change from camp to camp.
Although the rooms were compact, we quickly learnt to enjoy them. The only problem was finding things in the dark after the generator was switched off and early in the mornings.
Also, breakfast by the waterside was indeed magical, but it was totally spoilt by the wasps around the jam pots etc and so had to be eaten at speed whilst fending off the wasps. Maybe another system could be found to eliminate this problem.
return to colonial days at Nsefu
Quite a change from Nkwali as there was only one other couple in the camp compared to the constant movement of people at the larger camp. Rooms were good -- the remodeling for bigger bathrooms/changing areas was great & location on the river was great.
Irene worked hard to ensure everything went well and our guide Braston was knoweldgeable and very personable. He did a good job at gauging our interests.
Nsefu with a perfect location.
Nsefu must have one of the best locations with the river and its own waterhole. Our third visit the last one being in 2006.
It was great to see things had not changed and we had a happy welcome from old friends.T
he guiding is first class and we had our usual Leopard fix.
We've never stayed at Nsefu before and we had a great time and good game viewing, so the following comments seem a bit picky.
One small problem with the room is a lack of bedside tables (balancing things on the back bed board means items aren't within easy reach); and no bedside lights, having therefore to climb out of bed to turn off the lights. A difficulty with the area is the need to turn left out of the camp and drive down the same road each time before other options open out.
However, the camp itself is lovely and a highlight was watching a group of ellies of all ages cross over the river one afternoon. As was watching Hazel the leopard giving us a stunning performance of a big cat playing like a small cat one early evening.